My most recent trip to Riviera Nayarit has really left me rejuvenated and excited to share with you. This Pacific Mexican destination is not only beautiful, but it also has a lot of great features I think are great for Texas based travelers.
Here are my top 5 reasons to vacation in Riviera Nayarit.
1. Direct flight from Dallas- In under two and a half hours, you can be in the gorgeous beach side city of Puerto Vallarta
2. Lots of Texans have experienced Cancun and Riviera Maya, but the “other side” of the Mexican coast has just as much to offer, if not more!
3. The stunning Sierra Madre Mountains, not only offers great views, but also allows travelers to experience many “jungle” activities. (one of which is one of my all time favorite excursions!)
4. This area has a ton of culture and charm- the cobblestone streets and Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta, the cozy surfer town of Sayulita are all must sees!
5. And my most favorite of all, is the food! Absolutely delightful seafood dishes prepared with authentic Mexican traditions.
A bit more interested in traveling to Riviera Nayarit? Keep reading for even more inside information!
Puerto Vallarta is the central hub of the area. Although not technically inside Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta is located inside the state of Jalisco which boarder’s Nayarit state. Here you will find the international airport, and lots of major hotel chains, most of which will be all-inclusive resorts.
Some of the highlights of this city are:
the charming cobblestone streets that run through the entire downtown area
the beautiful historic Our Lady of the Guadalupe church located in the center of Puerto Vallarta
the boardwalk offers great views of the ocean, while still keeping you just feet from all the shops and restaurants of the downtown area
Romantic zone- called that because of all the little “romantic” restaurants that cover the area
Insider Tip- When you visit the Romantic Zone, ask your driver to take you to the El Set restaurant. Just south of the zone, this is where the locals go to enjoy delicious cuisine with a stunning view!
After crossing over a small bridge into Nayarit state, you will quickly land in Nuevo Vallarta. This area is about 15-20 minutes North of Puerto Vallarta and is also home to many all inclusive hotels. A couple of my favorites are:
For the more budget conscious, I recommend the Hard Rock. This is a nice property for families and is very lively. Definitely a good option for young couples that like to stay active, as the Hard Rock offers a great promotion where guests can receive credit for activities and excursions. Think swimming with the dolphins (which is way cooler than I expected!), spa services, etc.
My top pick for this area is the Grand Velas. This is the only 5 star all-inclusive resort in the area, so guests are guaranteed to receive amazing service! Upon arriving, you will immediately be greeted by the breeze of the Banderas Bay, followed by a mini head and shoulder massage in the lobby, while enjoying your special welcome drink. (all of this within 5 minutes of arriving!!!) The Grand Velas is also a fantastic hotel for families. They have an awesome kids club that honestly any adult would love to hang out in! Pre-teens can spend hours having a ball. This hotel overall offers a more subdued and relaxing atmosphere.
Punta Mita/ Punta de Mita
When researching for my trip, it was a bit confusing to me on what the difference is between these two very similarly named places are, so I thought it was important to mention. Punta de Mita is the actual town where locals live and Punta Mita is the development where high end hotels and residential homes are located.
Located in Punta Mita are two absolutely luxurious resort options- the St. Regis and the Four Seasons
As soon as you step into the lobby of the St. Regis, you will be struck by the stunning view of the cascading pools leading to the Pacific Ocean.
A few highlights of this beautiful hotel are-
The rooms are designed to be far enough apart that you don’t feel anyone else around you, but close enough that it isn’t a long hike to get to restaurants, the pool, or the beach
The Mita Mary bar and bistro is a super cute boat themed restaurant right on the beach. Talk about toes in the sand!
The only 5 diamond restaurant in the area- Carolina is a stunning fine dining restaurant
The hotel I chose to stay at for many different reasons is the Four Seasons. This hotel is one of the best for families in the area! They not only offer a wealth of activities for all ages, along with a kids club, they have a leisurely lazy river that is perfect for the whole family to enjoy. And did I mention they have a Gelato bar on the beach? (again perfect for the kids, but something the whole family will enjoy).
This stately property also has golf carts with drivers constantly available to take guests wherever they’d like throughout the resort. Here are a couple highlights-
The stunning infinity pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean- a whole day can easily be spent on this view!
One of the best meals of my life was at the Bahia restaurant (you must get the seafood risotto with citrus asparagus!)
Heading North along the coast, I must mention the breathtaking Imanta boutique resort. This property is for the couple looking for something much more secluded and private. This half jungle, half beach centric resort’s simplistic approach to design lends nicely to the natural and eco-friendly philosophy behind architecture of Imanta. With only twelve rooms in the whole resort, guests are guaranteed to have miles of beach to wander along and jungle to hike and explore, likely without seeing another guest.
The highlights of Imanta are-
The view from their Observatory is the second to none!
Their menu includes the most authentic food. When dining here, it feels like you would get the same exact meal if you were invited to a local Abuela’s casa (grandmother’s house) for dinner.
Only about 15-20 minutes North, is the quaint eclectic surfing town of Sayulita. A perfect day outting, this is a must see for anyone that wants to experience a more authentic version of a Mexican beach town. Make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, and take a surfing lesson from a local. This adorable little town offers lots of little bars with spectacular views of the ocean.
Insider Tip- As I mentioned earlier, the jungle of the Sierra Madre Mountains is home to one of my favorite excursions. The “Outdoor Adventure” as it’s called, will send you flying across the bay in a speedboat, off-roading in a 4×4, riding a mule up a mountain, zip lining, and rappelling down a waterfall. Not for the faint of heart!
This past week is a traveling experience my husband and I will never forget! Uptown clients, let’s go to Riviera Nayarit!
“Work Hard, Travel Often”